Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

I know he wasn't a first rate theologian. In fact, he was not a theologian at all. I realize his atonement theory was skewed and had too much of "ransoming from the Devil" theory mixed in. I know he was not a Calvinist nor did he come to understand "all" of the bible's wonderful truths about God sovereignty. I don't care.

C.S. Lewis' story The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe was fantastic. I simply loved it. From the first scenes during the bombing of England and the children being forced on the train to the country, to the Final Battle scene with Knight Peter battling against the White Witch. The only draw back to the movie was Liam Neeson's voice as Aslan's.

I have loved the Chronicles of Narnia for many years now. I own Focus on the Family's Radio Theatre's adaptation. I reread the books with my children every year or so. They simply stir the imagination to think of truths that are beyond us in creative ways.

Although there have been many objections to Lewis' Christianity, we must keep in mind that he was a product of his day. Lewis embraced Christianity after being an atheist for many years. He was foremost an intellectual and had more philosophical baggage than we could possibly imagine. In the end, God's grace had taken a man who was in "outer darkness" and shown him a glimpse of Christ. The Light of Christ being enough to save any man, including Lewis. He trusted Christ and Christ alone.

In my reading of Lewis, it seems to me that it was his story telling that may have given him the underlying reason to embrace Christ and Christianity. After writing stories since he was a child, a friend and author challenged Lewis as to the meaning and purpose stories point to, even more than philosophy and science. Does not every story have an author? Does not every story seem to be a battle between good and evil? A Character needing to overcome some problem? If this is true in fiction, why could there not be a God who has also written a story?

As Paul's letter to the Romans clearly teaches, men have the laws of God written upon their hearts. C.S. Lewis simply came to see a truth that men by their evil nature surpress. God has taken that heart of stone and given Lewis a heart of flesh. I pray that God would do that for the next generation of Americans. Perhaps with more movies that assist the general public in forming a Christian worldview, the Gospel may not be far behind.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Pastor Gorman Agrees To Blog

One the high points for me at every Payne Christmas gathering is getting to visit with Pastor Chris Gorman. He is my wife's cousin, who pastors a North American Baptist church in South Dakota. Even though we have had different backgrounds in our Christian life, we have both come to embrace the Doctrines of Grace about the same time. We both have come to see the strength of the Reformed faith in its exegesis of Scripture and ability to be consistent with God's truth. Consistency has been key for both of us in our walk with Christ.

During our visit this year, I asked Chris if he would consider being a contributor to this blog. Now, I can avoid being a Blog Hog and actually have a pastoral viewpoint occasionally being expressed. Since he is a pastor, he probably won't have a lot of time to write, but I have assured him the freedom to express his thoughts on this Blog. (As long as it agree with me ;-) )

So be looking for Pastor Gorman's posts. I am sure he will have some interesting things to say.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Science Being Redefined

In an article on WorldNetDaily Rush Limbaugh was quoted saying,

"Let's make no mistake. The people pushing intelligent design believe in the biblical version of creation. Intelligent design is a way, I think, to sneak it into the curriculum and make it less offensive to the liberals because it ostensibly does not involve religious overtones, that there is just some intelligent being far greater than anything any of us can even imagine that's responsible for all this, and of course I don't have any doubt of that. But I think that they're sort of pussyfooting around when they call it intelligent design."

I don't want to say Rush is all wrong here, but when there are Intelligent Design theorists who don't believe in the Bible, it is hard to accept Rush's statement at face value. It is however understandable with Jonathan Witt's response to Rush's statement.

The article goes on to say:

Jonathan Witt, Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, the nation's leading intelligent design think tank, says Limbaugh's suggestion that design theorists appear disingenious when drawing a sharp distinction between creationism and intelligent design is mistaken.

"Since newspapers routinely mangle our position on this matter, it's little wonder," he said today.

"Traditional creationism begins with the Bible and moves from there to science," says Witt. "Intelligent design begins and ends with science."

So here is the problem. If the ID position is to use the definition of science that fits the evolutionary worldview, then Rush's viewpoint is wrong. The ID position becomes a merely negative assertion in showing Evolution to be unable to explain "irreducible complexities" within its own system.

As we all can plainly see however, ID doesn't stop with the Evolutionary definition of Science. It actually attempts to redefine science to be more open-minded by allowing alternative explanations and theories of the evidence. Therefore, by allowing alternative theories, this gives rise to alternative starting points and worldviews.

ID can be an obvious gateway in allowing Biblical Creationism to be taught in public schools. The greatest fear of any Evolutionist is that people might view the world through what God tells us to be true. Modern Man simply cannot give up his sovereignty to some mythical God of the Bible who requires blood sacrifices (or any other repugnant idea that offends Modern Man).

Over the years I have liked the ID movement. Instead of being a merely negative critique of evolution, it may have something more to offer. The information theory in my opinion was a great breakthrough. For it gave the movement something positive for evolutionists to turn to. The problem being however, that it is still a worldview that men concoct in their minds in order to remain palatable to Modern Man instead of allowing God to define our world.

Many have been predicting a revolution in science as science advances beyond what the theory of Evolution can handle. So in the end Rush may be (in practical purposes) right. If we allow for an Intelligent Designer, then people might just turn to the only coherent system out there, and who wants that?

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Opportunity

It's Christmas Eve and the Fishers are trying to make the best of things here. Rachel was up all night with the pukys. I was up reading her stories in between. She thought it helped keep her mind at ease while I read Clifford. She is trying to get some rest now while the wife and son go to the Kidwells Christmas gathering. So while you are all at your Christmas Eve services tonight, pray for Rachel.

On the lighter side, last night before we went to bed, Steven and I had some great conversation. He asked why Jesus could not have died for our sins as a child. This led to a whole host of more questions. We talked about Justification and Sanctification. We talked about God's "discriminating" love for men as opposed to "peanut butter love". We talked about why Jesus proclaimed the Gospel and has chosen to use weak earthly vessels to proclaim the Gospel today.

Christmas is a great Holiday to explain the Great Truths of Scripture with your children. Don't miss the opportunity. As Jesus says, "My sheep hear my voice..." Teach children diligently and be faithful raising children in the admonition of the Lord. He will be faithful.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Contradictions and Atonement

The Muslim apologist, Shabir Ally, believes that the Bible has many contradictions. As he was making his case, he argued for one I have never heard a Muslim apologist use. In fact, outside of Christian circles, I have rarely heard it at all. Yet he attacks a belief that most modern Evanjellycals hold dearly to. Listen to this contradiction given by a Muslim and see what kind of answer you would give to him. (I realize the recording is not the best.)

Please post a reply. I look forward to hearing what answers some of you might have.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Semi-Praise of Man, Full Praise of God

What if Mary didn't cooperate? What if Joseph didn't want to marry Mary? God certainly would never violate the wills of these two individuals. So we are blessed by Mary and Joseph's obedience. Otherwise, Jesus' birth may have been in big trouble. At least that is what I concluded after the narration that I was "forced" to read yesterday (I am saying "forced" tongue-in-cheek).

I just have to wonder why the questions are even raised in an evangelical church. Does Scripture raise these issues or questions? I see no evidence that Scripture ever makes the assumptions that so many evanjellycals make today. Simply asking the questions above would be like asking, "Is God really the Creator? Let's look at the evidence." Scripture in no place defends the concept that God is the Creator. It simply assumes it. In the same way, Scripture assumes God saves His people without any Creature getting in His way, even Mary and Joseph. It just assumes it and proclaims it.

I certainly hope we are not on the road back to Rome's view of Grace and man. With more and more Protestants embracing man-centered theology, it seems praising Joseph and Mary is just the beginning. Even if it is just a semi-praise. Perhaps next time, I'll be a little more careful as to what I agree to read in a worship service before God's people. (P.S.: I am sure it was not the intention of the music to praise Joseph and Mary, but instead to call Christians to obedience.)

Friday, December 16, 2005

Redneck Theology

I know most of you may think this is not funny, but for those of you involved in the Calvinism/Arminianism debate,well...humor goes a long way. Alan Kurschner posted "You might be a Red-neck if..." My personal favorite was "you hear someone say Ordo Salutis and think they had too much moonshine."

Thanks Alan

You might be a Redneck Calvinist if…

the church you attend is not seeker-friendly, but cigar-friendly.

you hear “Free Will,” and think about bailing out your cousin “Will” in jail.

your dad uses the double barrel shotgun for his own “effectual calling.”

you think that an Amyrauldian is road kill.

BHT means Barbeque Hogs Tonight.

the only overalls you will buy are made by Calvin.

you compliment your wife with, “God has ordained your voice to sound like a chainsaw.”

your church has justified to include the banjo and harmonica under the Regulative Principle.

your church refuses to call the church picnic a Potluck.

you have the five solas tattooed on your arm.

Alan Kurschner

(HT: Marie, Allan, Sean, Claire )
Posted by Alan Kurschner on 12/16/2005 @ 12:49 am

December 15, 2005
Are you a Redneck Arminian?

You might be a Redneck Arminian if…

you hear “Irresistible Grace” and think of your cousin.

there is a fiddle accompaniment with Just as I am.

your exegesis consists of having 2 Peter 3:9 tattooed on your arm.

when you hear “RC” you think of Cola.

you think that supralapsarian is a newly breed dog.

you possess more Charles Finney books than teeth.

when the preacher mentions that we are but lumps of clay, you think of Mud Bogs.

you hear someone say Ordo Salutis and think they had too much moonshine.

you think “Spurgeon” is something you catch with rod & reel from your brother-in-law’s boat.

when you hear the Institutes you think of where many of your relatives live.

“The Chief End of Man” is where you end up after “The Fall of Man.”

you think that “Limited Atonement” is a single barrel shotgun.

you purchase your Dave Hunt books through the Home Shopping Network.

when you hear “five points” it reminds you of your average monthly reduction in your driver’s record.

you have a bumper sticker on your truck that says, “If there ain’t free will in heaven, I don’t want to go.”

Alan Kurschner

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Islam Not A Religion For Nations

Is Islam a religion for the Nations? History has shown that Islam cannot exist side by side with other religions. Current events equally show that. On his Internet program the Dividning Line, Dr. White critiques Shabir Ally's arguments from a debate with Sam Shamoun. The debate was over whether or not the Bible is the Word of God verses the Koran.

Anyway, listen to a great reason among many why Islam should not be a religion of the west. It is just a short clip, but worth listening to.

Liberalism and Freedom From Islam

An Anonymous person said in my last post,

"I don't think there should be any state-sanctioned religion. How would you feel if Muslims took over and made Islam the Kansas religion? I think the separation of church and state was one of the wisest decision our founders made."

This is the problem with the left in this country. They honesty think that by being passive to the rest of the world, we will get the world to like us. The problem is that this country is not making immigrants become part of a common culture. Multiculturalism simply cannot work.

Leftists however think they will be able to remain in power. The Islamic peoples of the world are in a massive move to make the world Islamic by immigration. They will use Leftists to their advantage. Eventually they will throw down their "allies" once they see the opportunity. Anybody following what is going on in France?

Therefore we must as a Nation go back to the Christian Worldview as the basis for government. Liberalism will not be able to withstand Islam. So if Anonymous really wishes to keep a separation of church and state, he better abandon his left-wing liberalism.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Road Back To England's Church

I have received more forwarded e-mails from Christians trying to remind me that the Founders of this country did not believe in a separation of church and state. I am not sure what Founders these Christians read, but they most certainly did believe in a separation of Church and state. Terminology is always the most difficult part in any public debate, especially one in which Christians do not recognize their own Traditions.

The Framers of the U.S. Constitution most certainly recognized that if the Federal government endorsed a particular church (state church at the Federal level "for those of you in..."), then there would be major clashes between states with different churches and also states that had religious freedom from any particular denomination. Therefore, we have the First Amendment. So the question really is, "What is the role of religion in the public square and in particular our governments?"

The answer is quite simple. The Federal government has no authority to involve itself in state or local levels. It is simply restricted by the First Amendment. The Federal Government however must embrace the Worldview that gave rise to it. Otherwise, it will pull the rug from beneath itself, and collapse upon itself with its owns weight. The Federal Government must embrace the Bible as being the Word of God and revelation of His Will and Laws. This is the only means of preserving religious pluralism.

States, however, are not governed by the First Amendment, and the quicker Christians get off of this First Amendment argument, the better. States are free to recognize any religion they desire. Christians must be persuasive in their argumentation for their Christian worldview.

I do not want to go back to England's or Germany's or Rome's State (or an atheistic) church. Do you?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Flow Chart For Salvation In RCism

On JohnMark's Blog, I originally thought this "flow chart" was made tongue in cheek. Apparently I was wrong. "That is the flowchart from James McCarthy's _The Gospel According to Rome_. Good book. Great flowchart." According to Rhology.

So, if you are Roman Catholic, enjoy figuring this out.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Celebrating Christmas VS. The Lord's Day

It has come to my attention that several Meg-Churches are closing for Christmas. The consumers apparently don't feel the need to celebrate Christ on the Lord's Day, which also happens to be Christmas. Isn't there a big hub-bub about boycotting Target for saying "Happy Holidays"?

We are so worried that the world is taking Christ out of Christmas, we forget to take the plank out of our own eye? I didn't realize that Christmas and the Lord's Day were in competition.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

State and Church

On the Laura Ingram show, a debate insued with those who oppose Christianity, in particular those who think Christmas carols should not be sung at school. This is an interesting argument, but simply telling non-Christians they must accept Christmas carols being sung by their children in the public school is absurd.

I have yet to understand why Christians think a non-Christian should have to sing religious songs to get a grade, when the parents are against it. Now Christians could argue that if the majority of people are Christian, then the person who does not want to participate does not have to, but the school may go ahead with a Christmas program. Let's say however that a particular city is atheistic. Should children there be forced to sing Christmas carols when the majority of people are not Christian? I don't think so.

Should the government's worldview be Christian? Yes. Should the government publically advocate Christianity as their worldview? Again, yes. You may say this seems contradictory. It is not. I believe Christians need to persuade their fellow man of the superiority of Christianity. I think we Christians need to make a solid case as to why governments need the Christian worldview. This however is different from forcing people to go to church and believe in Jesus

We as Christians must demonstrate that atheism as a worldview is inconsistent with reality and is not even able to explain the world around us. Atheism has no basis for arguing why laws should be the way they are except from perhaps a pragmatistic view. Even then, that has no basis in sound thought. Atheism's worldview cannot even suppport religious freedom. It simply is impossible for atheism to exist as a coherent and consisten foundation for government.

Some might say that perhaps another religion should be the foundation for America, such as Islam. Again, one only needs to take a quick glance around the world to see Islam is not a consistent worldview and need not apply. The religious persecution that takes place against Christians is too well documented, even in countries that are not seen as "extreme". It is simply not possible to have religious freedom within an Islamic state (or an atheistic one for that matter).

Christianity is the only worldview that is consistent and coherent. It provides for the moral underpinnings that governments need to be God honoring while allowing for relgious freedom. Although religious freedom does not mean a religious free-for-all. It does mean a government based on solid Scriptural teaching can provide a basis for stability among a people of differing views.

It is difficult to maintain order in a society, whose citizens are taught all worldviews are equal. If Christians desire true unity in this great nation, then we must not be ashamed to show from the Bible that God governs both the state and the church, and it does so on separate grounds.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Bible First, Then Philosophy

If I am being misunderstood by everyone, then I accept the blame for not being as clear as I should be. So I will make one more attempt at explaining presuppositional apologetics. Many atheists use the problem of evil against Christians, and many Christians are defeated at different points. The question should however be turned against the atheist. Why should the atheist even ask the question? For there cannot be evil in an atheist world.

Now I realize that several atheist philosophers have made water tight cases for a system of morality. In fact there are philosophers of the past who have made systems of philosophy that absolutely destroy Christianity. Systems that simply can't be beat.

An example of a philosophy was given in a talk by the late Dr. Walter Martin. Years ago I listened to him speak about getting Feuerbach stuffed down his throat in college. He saw that in Feuerbach's system that Christianity had been dealt a death blow, and he searched high and low among Christian philosophers to find an answer. He never found one.

He then went on to explain how he came across a German philosopher, who was known by the name the Pessimist (I believe he was referring to Arthur Schopenhauer). This philosopher did what no one else had done. He refuted Feuerbach. But he did it not by beating the system, for that was solid. He did it by challenging the assumption of Feuerbach's system.

The assumption was that Christians try to make reality based on their inner desires. Once Schopenhauer refuted the starting point that reality is not reality simply because of our desires, Feuerbach's unbeatable system was destroyed. In the same way, the perhaps unassailable morality systems of atheists come crashing down. For their systems must presuppose truth that can be known outside of their own worldview. Their worldview does not start with the presuppositions that are needed to consistently explain what they are arguing for.

This is why they must borrow from the Christian worldview when dealing with Christians on the problem of evil. By simply asking the question about a loving God and the problem of evil, they must assume there is a God, truth, laws of logic, a Creator creature relationship and ect for their question to even be valid.

Christians often respond with terrible logic and poor reasoning. Hence why so many atheists reject Christians. Therefore, if you are an atheist, I challenge you to understand that only the reformed apologetic is able to give a Biblically consistent answer. You may still disagree. But as I have heard some atheists say, if Christianity is true, it must accept the Sovereignty of God as taught not by arminian Christian philosophers, but by reformed theologians who start with the Bible first, then produce their philosophy.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Scientific Method

Is the scientific method really scientific? In presuppositional apologetics, I must challenge the assumption that the "scientific method" is really scientific. Are things truly only known by observations that are repeatable? I believe evolutionists start with a presupposition that is unproven.

Now most people recognize this. It is like saying that there is no absolute truth except for the absolute truth that there is not absolute truth. This is just silly. But we have to start somewhere. I submit we start with a whole lot more in our hidden bags than just the "scientific method".

Atheists often say something to the effect that we can only know the physical world. The supernatural is by definition outside of science. I, however, do not accept this definition of science. By what authority do atheists get to determine the rules of science? Their own worldview cannot even account for morality, laws of logic and ect..

We watch science all the time tell us about people we have never even seen. Archaeologists spend much of their time digging up remains of pottery and finding all kinds of trash societies of the past have left for us. It is always amazing to me how much one can learn about a person from their garbage. Forensic sciences are telling us about dead bodies that are found. They can tell if they were murdered. If a person was discovered to have been murdered, they even discover if it was a crime of passion. Imagine that! Motives of a crime can even be determined by scientists who only have a decayed body and possibly some other circumstantial evidence. (So much for the scientific method!)

Atheism starts off by having certain presuppositions that cannot fully explain on a consistent basis the philosophy it adheres to. It is always convenient for atheists to borrow from the Christian worldview when arguing with Christians. For instance, many atheists will challenge Christians with the problem of a loving omnipotent God and evil in the world. For the question by the atheist to even be asked presumes the Christian Worldview to be true. Therefore, the atheist secretly uses Christian assumptions against them, all the while claiming to be morally superior.

Part of the problem is that most evanjellycals are embarrassed to speak about the God of Scripture or wrath against sin or the curse on creation by God. If evanjellycals will not set aside their Traditions of "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life theology", then atheism will simply die a slow death to post-modernism, not because of compelling Christian thought and arguments.

In an era when atheism is dying, I most certainly want to help drive in the last nails into its coffin. Please keep in mind though, that evolutionism will not simply die and go away just because atheism does. Evolutionism did not gets its foundations from atheism but from eastern religions. I believe Dr. Walter Martin was absolutely correct when predicting the rise of the New Age Movement in the Post-Modern Era.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Evolutionists Are Not Open-Minded

Professor Mirecki is a professor at Kansas University. He, like Scott City's local New York Times Editor, is quite open minded. In a letter (as reported in the article referred to below) that he wrote to some atheists he stated:

"The fundies (fundamentalists) want it all taught in a science class, but this will be a nice slap in their big fat face by teaching it as a religious studies class under the category mythology."

Please keep in mind that these atheists that he is writing to are a part of a group called the Society of Open-Minded Atheists. I wish to challenge the open-mindedness of atheism and the local New Times Editor.

Why is it that in astronomy, we can use scientific methods to scan the skies for coded information by using giant radio telescopes? What are we looking for? Any series of codes that may be picked up would only show that some cosmic accident made something "look" like information. Therefore having an intelligent signal from outer space can't happen. Yet, we are still looking. The reason is evolutionary scientists recognize that there is a difference in random sequences and information. Yet when looking at themselves, they apparently see no intelligent design (of which I agree, there is no intelligent ...).

When the same standards of philosophical assumptions are applied to biology, evolutionists are very quick to make all kinds of various arguments against looking for information and intelligent design. Is this being open-minded? Is it open-minded to start from the outset that there can ONLY be a naturalistc explanation for why things are the way they are?

I have to ask, "What if the other explanations (other than purely naturalistic ones) give a better understanding of the scientific evidence?" Should we discard alternative explanations simply because we assume the "scientific method" is the only way to see the world? To assume the "scientific method", as being by definition the greatest explanatory power, is to close off any other methods at the outset. How is this being "open-minded"?

Let me offer an example of their thinking. Dr. George Wald, evolutionist, Professor Emeritus of Biology at the University at Harvard, Nobel Prize winner in Biology stated:

"There are only two possibilities as to how life arose; one is spontaneous generation arising to evolution, the other is a supernatural creative act of God, there is no third possibility. Spontaneous generation that life arose from non-living matter was scientifically disproved 120 years ago by Louis Pasteur and others. That leaves us with only one possible conclusion, that life arose as a creative act of God. I will not accept that philosophically because I do not want to believe in God, therefore I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible, spontaneous generation arising to evolution."

The real reason for the "Open-Minded" society to be so closed minded at the start is obvious. Ideas have consequences. They know full well that Americans may turn back to God, and thereby becoming the greatest and freest people on earth, the envy of the Nations.

Blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord.

Soli Deo Gloria

We Don't Have To Take IT Anymore

Since I agreed that it is a waste of time to warn Christians that non-Christians may behave like...well...non-Christians at Christmas time, I thought I would tackle a subject much nearer to my heart...the subject of origins. In the Thanksgiving Day Scott County Record, our local New York Times Editor for the third week in a row has again decided to take a shot at creationists and Intelligent Designers. He sarcastically (as is his usual method) states:

"I'm thankful the Kansas Board of Education has decided to no longer burden our young people with all this fairy tale stuff about evolution. Many of us want to return to a time when life was less hectic and complicated and our State Board is determined to get us there...Somewhere around the 13th century."

So there you have it. Those who believe God and His account of the history of the world are somehow backwards and stuck in the days when chickens weigh the same as witches (yes, I enjoy Monty Python movies). Mr. New York Times Editor is so convinced that Creationism is so irrelevant to education, he has spent 3 editorials making comments about it. It reminds me of the woman growing up in the atheistic Soviet Union, who wondered why the government spent so much time fighting a God that didn't exist.

Apparently he is not the only one. A Kansas University professor was forced to apologize for calling creationists "fundies". He was planning on teaching a class that links mythologies with Biblical creationism. Part of the article states:

The department faculty approved the course Monday but changed its title. The course, originally called "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationisms and other Religious Mythologies," will instead be called "Intelligent Design and Creationism."

So now a professor of the religious studies department is going to bash Christians and IDers. Please notice that he is chairman of the Religious Studies Dept.. There is a reason for this. The theory of evolution didn't come about because of science. Charles Darwin didn't discover anything new. What Darwin did was give scientific credibility to a philosophical movement already in full swing. In other words, evolution and creationism are philosophically and theologically (or lack of theology) driven.

College and University professors and local New York Times Editors seem to feel the need to marginalize their opposition. Their feelings are well founded. More and more people are becoming educated on how the subject of origins can turn whole nations towards God or away from Him. More and more people are seeing that the subject of origins affects the laws of the land. I now firmly believe that most Americans are tired of the left in this country. They are tried of their screwy reasoning and siding with terrorists and being anti-American in general. We are tired of being told we are stupid.

Only in colleges and newspapers is the consumer told he is wrong and stupid. That is now changing. The left no longer has the monopoly in the media. We simply don't have to take their nonsense, and unproven and empty philosophies anymore. Instead, let us take all thoughts captive and submit them to Christ.

Soli Deo Gloria

Monday, November 28, 2005

World Is Anit-Christian...Since When?

Pastor Lynne (my pastor) was right on when he spoke about not fearing when the world perverts Christmas to the point that it isn't Christmas anymore. He was correct in arguing that the world has been anti-Christmas since Jesus showed up. So when the ACLU or anyone else decides they don't want Christmas in Christmas, should we be surprised?

We Christian conservatives act so surprised when we send our children off to secular colleges or even liberal Christian colleges when they come home not believing in the inerrancy of Scripture. We are surprised when a secular company might try to make a profit during the Christmas season. We seem surprised when non-Christians act like non-christians. This should not be the case. Jesus tells us in the parable of the wheat and tares that both good and evil must grow up together until the end of this evil age.

When Christians complain about the world without looking at themselves is when we should be a little concerned. I received and email from the American Family Association asking to boycott certain companies for their stance against Christmas. Tom Ascol's Blog concludes with similar comments from my pastor.

Isn't it interesting where we evangelicals often choose to draw battle lines with the world? We take personal offense when retailers make marketing decisions that have absolutely nothing to do with biblical standards of morality and yet heartily support them when they blatantly violate biblical standards. The Bible says nothing about Christmas--either as a special day to be observed or a term to be included in marketing (for the record, I do celebrate Christmas, but not because I think I am biblically obliged to do so). So, why should Christians be exercised when retailers don't advertize "Christmas" specials?

On the other hand, the Bible does teach that one day in seven should be set aside for special observance in recognition that God is the Creator and we are His creatures. Yet, many (most?) Christians have no qualms about going to the mall on Sunday or treating it as no different from any other day of the week. Even conservative Southern Baptists reduced the Baptist Faith and Message in 2000 on the observance of the Lord's Day. I have always been confounded by those (like AFA) who argue loudly for the public display of the 10 Commandments and yet who do not seem to care that those commandments are virtually unknown and largely unregarded in our evangelical churches.

So count me out of the boycott. I will save my bullets for the real war.

I agree.

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Children and Magic of Holidays

Once again, having children gives the Holidays far more meaning. I remember back in my early Air Force days and even in High School celebrating Christmas and Thanksgiving with friends. There was a sense of "outer darkness" or a feeling that there simply is no meaning to all of this. The Holidays were obviously meant to cheer people, instead they pointed out the obvious that life really had no meaning.

Having my worldview turned upsidedown at the age of 22 may have given me a new outlook on life, but Christmas still seemed somewhat empty. Don't take me wrong, I loved my new wife and my new family. Christmas with them was more meaningful. But that sappy sentimentality just never accompanied the Holidays. I just was not a very emotional person.

Over the years, my wife has had an affect on me in more ways than she may know. She loves history, and her love is infectious. When Steven was six months old, we drove all night to Washington D.C. for Veteran's Day Weekend. We walked through D.C. till our legs literally could not take another step. During that walk I began to be impressed with our Nation's history. Reading quotes by Lincoln at his memorial, watching the changing of the guard at the National Cememtery and seeing Washington's monument were quite moving. She even read to me a book about John Adams. A book of personal letters between John and his wife Abigail was a fascinating read.

Having a knoweldge of history can help give a man a sense of who he is. Having faith in Christ gives a man new life. Having children perhaps may be one of the greatest means of grace that God uses to bring a man to love Himself. Children remind us of why we are here. Children remind us just how fragile life truly is. Children often remind us that the meaning of life is not bigger homes or faster cars or more powerful computers or being able to earn more money or the miriad other things one could come up with.

My children have helped me to see the face of God. When their eyes glow with the "magic" of Christmas or giving thanks for our child that they have never seen, I get the sense of "Awe" that I lost so long ago.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

It's Official

It is now official. Yes, my wife is pregnant, and I have permmission to tell the world. Her due date is July 28th. So we have plenty of time to get started all over again since we got rid of most of our baby stuff. We just weren't planning another one.

The only draw back is that our trip to Massachusetts will have to be postponed. Hopefully a trip to Horn Creek is possible. Then again, staying home and just trying to adjust to having a fifth person in the house may be plenty to do.

Anyway, hope this news excites you as it does me.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Thanksgiving At SCCS

Last night the Scott City Christian School had their annual Thanksgiving Dinner. The kids did a great job performing. Who knew Steven could play the trumpet? At one point he bobbled a note and gave a Gonzo look (if you remember, Gonzo's bong never actually bonged, and it drove him crazy.)

Giving thanks in the Tradition of the Pilgrims is something we take seriously here. We firmly believe as they did, it is by God's Providence and purpose that we have the many blessings that we do. God could have destroyed all of man. Instead, God sees that what He originally made was good and has decided to redeem and restore all things in Christ.

Anyway, here are a couple of pictures.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Christian Movie Makers Stuck On An Island

Art is an interesting topic, especially for Christians. What is appropriate, and what is not? Is there a Christian horror genre? Fantasy movies like the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe verses Harry Potter can lead to quite a debate. Debates are good things, and the discussions on the White Horse Inn several weeks ago were even better.

Listen to Michael Horton interview Scott Derrickson about a movie by "Sony Pictures, The Exorcism of Emily Rose." Michael Horton also does a two-part interview with another screen writer Brian Godawa. Click here for part one and part two.

I first realized just how many movies that are made that never make it to the wider general public when Focus On The Family interviewed Mel Gibson. I hope that instead of the really bad movies like Left Behind (I know I went on a limb saying that), we will instead get movies like Signs and other more gospel oriented movies that could actually be considered art (yes, I realize Signs was not a movie particularly about the gospel). Perhaps another movie about Tom Hanks being stuck on an island would be better than some of the Christian stuff that is out there.

I agree with the point that Christians, who make movies, should not feel the need to be stuck to the idea that in order for a movie to be Christian, somebody has to pray the "sinner's prayer" underneath some golden tree. Perhaps those movies have their place, but Christian art should cover more than the fundamentalist island they are stranded on.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Adrian Rogers Dies

World Net Daily is reporting via Florida Baptist Witness that Adrian Rogers has passed away this morning. Adrian Rogers was a pastor within the Southern Baptist denomination He was also President of the SBC Convention for 3 terms. He was founder of Love Worth Finding Ministries.

The SBC conservative resurgence was lead by several ministers including Dr. Rogers. History will judge just how big that movement was, and if it will be sustained. But Dr. Rogers saw it for what it was at the time it happened. Although to compare it to the Council of Nicea may be a bit of a stretch, it was indeed historic.

I personally have benefitted from Dr. Rogers over the years despite his anti-Calvinistic preaching at the end of his ministry. When I first heard his preaching years ago, I was moved at his ability to communicate God's truth to me. He was a great man of God and will be sorely missed.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Preaching As a Means of Grace To Persevere

I have often thought about preaching as the means by which God calls sinners to His Son’s Kingdom. I have often thought of preaching as the means of “awakening” God’s church. I even thought of preaching as a means by which God’s people are encouraged. John Piper adds another thought:
“Gravity in preaching is appropriate because preaching is God’s appointed means for the conversion of sinners, the awakening of the church, and the preservation of the saints.”
And again:
“It [preaching] is God’s appointed means of keeping them secure….He calls effectually by the Word and He keeps effectually by the Word.”
I have never quite thought of preaching that way. I agree that the doctrine of justification is a past action that is fully complete. Because of its completeness, I am fully justified today. In the same way, preaching was the means by which I was saved, but it is also God’s Word, which keeps me.

We as God’s people need to hear the called man of God preach the Word of God. It is the means of Grace by which God has chosen to save and preserve His people. Tomorrow morning, I will look forward to Lynne’s message with a whole new enthusiasm. I expect to hear God call me to persevere. It is His means of preserving me.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

After many years of struggle and a horrendous loss a year ago, my brother and his wife finally brought home Joshua and Lillian. The one Danni is holding is Joshua (I think), and the other is Lillian. God has been good, and He finally brought home a family.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Who Is Really Being Consistent?

Before I offer a critique of our Local New Times Editorialist's weekly left-wing editorial, I want to weigh in quickly on the 9th Circus' ruling. Yes, we all know by now that they ruled the government has the right to educate your children the way they see fit. We should not be surprised by that. They are a bunch of left-wing nut cases.

What really bothers me is that everyone misses the obvious. What else is a State run school supposed to do? If the foundation for the modern public school system is that the State is the Almighty and that parents do not have a God-given right and command to educate their children, what other conclusion could they possibly have come to?

Let me put it another way. When the Rod Haxtons of Scott City grow up with the idea that only the State can possibly give an education to every person, when the State has taxing power so that the people have no real choice, when the left wing intellectual snobs assume that its citizens must be stupid since they didn't vote for them, when left wing social engineers believe only they should have the power to educate, why are we so surprised when the public schools act the way they do?

Ninety-nine percent of school related cases that appear before the Supreme Court usually have to do with some separation of Church and State conflict. Why do you think this is? The answer is obvious. Anyone with an ounce of thought should see that whoever controls education, controls the religious beliefs of its people.

So many children believe in God and at the same time behave as if he doesn't exist. Have you ever thought why? So many people today think in contradictory terms. Have you ever thought why? I believe that Americans may be the most schizophrenic people in the world.

We need to get back to a God centered world view. If we do not repent and change how we think, we may very well see the day our children perish for lack of Biblical knowledge. Truth is, the left in this country are being more consistent than Christians. In fact, this decision by the Ninth Circus may be the most thoughtful decision to come down from any left-wing court.

Power of the Son To Save?

Since I mentioned that 2 Peter 3:9 speaks of God’s will in salvation, I thought I would go to an even clearer text. John gives us one of the most wonderful assurance passages in all of Scripture, that being John chapter 6:37-40. This passage takes salvation out of man’s control in every way and places salvation squarely in God’s hands.

The text reads:

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."
Jesus speaks of the Father’s will. He defines what He means by will in these particular verses. The will of the Father is that everyone that He gives to the Son will be raised up on the last day. In other words, everyone that the Father gives to the Son will be saved.

So Jesus comes into the World to save these people. This is not some cosmic accident. It is not just some mere happenstance that men come to Christ. Christ came to save the people that come to Him.

Why do men come to Christ? They come because the Father gave them to the Son. They do not come against their will as some malign Calvinists as believing. They come because the Father has given them. Therefore, Jesus never turns away a man or woman that comes to Him because it is God’s will that He save them.

This passage is so simple and compelling I am always amazed at how men turn it on its head. Philosophical traditions become very powerful at this point. When the Dr. Norman Geislers and Adrianne Rogers are able to interpret this passage in the same fashion that my high school students do in order to avoid the painfully obvious, a clear sign of Tradition clouds the eyes.

Some conclusions must be drawn from a discourse of Jesus’ such as this, if we are going to follow modern evangelicalism. Either (a) Jesus saves everyone if everyone is given by the Father to the Son, or (b) Jesus fails to save millions of men whom the Father has given (if in fact the Father has given everyone), or (c) those who come of their own free-will are the ones given by the Father.

If (a), then you are a universalist. Everyone will be saved. This leads to far more questions than answers. If (b), then you must deny the power of the Son of God to fulfill the will of the Father. Jesus’ death falls to the ground due to the almighty will of man. This is what most evangelicals believe without realizing it.

Or perhaps (c) is your conclusion. This conclusion violates simple grammar. It also places salvation back into the hands of men. This denies the overall clear statements of Christ. It also robs any assurance whatsoever. If I can come to Christ by my own free will, what is to keep me from ever losing salvation? You may respond by saying once we come to Christ “we would never go back” as someone once said to me. My question is why? Those are just the words of men. How do you know?

This leads to another question. After the Coming of Christ and His Kingdom is established, what prevents sin from ever coming back? Is there no free-will in heaven’s Kingdom?

We should be willing to consider the obvious. The Father has given a people to the Son. The Son has all the power needed to accomplish the will of God.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Mohler Verse Patterson

I guess I should check my email just a little more often. I just read that Al Mohler (President of SBTS) and Paige Petterson will be debating Calvinism at the SBC Pastors conference. I can't imagine Patterson even stepping in the room with Mohler in a debate format. Mohler could convince a mouse he is really an elephant. Then again, will Mohler just be a nice guy and not call Patterson on the matt for the ridiculous things he has said. Perhaps this is just some kind of discussion of "Can't we just get along?" I guess we'll see. When I get more information, I'll post it here.

Soli Deo Gloria

God Is Patient

Since I have started an overall topic of the anti-Calvinism crusade among Southern Baptist Church leaders, I figured I'll just keep going. The Dividing Line was playing some clips of Adrianne Rogers speaking to a college group about the dangers of Calvinism. The idea that God wants to save every person ever, but He just can't because man has a "will" which is assumed to be free (Rogers uses 2 Peter 3:9). The moment someone attempts to debunk this man-made, philosophical idea, he is immediately charged with making God to be a mean and evil tyrant, who is unloving at best.

Emotionalism begins to take over many conversations when dealing with God's Sovereignty. I remember several years ago a pastor and his wife used the 2 Peter 3:9 argument to show that God desires every person ever to be saved and is waiting and hoping for us to come. When I used the text itself and showed what the text really meant, I was seen as a mean Calvinist that doesn't want to share the love of God. So in essence, personal, emotional, man-made philosophies and traditions took over the conversation.

It is true that God commands men everywhere to repent and believe in Jesus. This is God's will of command. Dr. Rogers uses emotionally driven examples of rape being against God's will. Therefore men have the ability to resist God's Will. Therefore God's will can be frustrated. Is 2 Peter 3:9 really about God commanding men?

I suggest that the text itself argues against that point. In fact, if you simply follow the pronouns "us" verses "them", you will see that this is not God hoping men will be saved, but God actually being patient with His people. This is showing that God uses means to bring about the salvation of His people, and this takes time.

It also shows that God has people from every generation, from every language, from every nation and tribe and people that He desires to save. He will not fail to do so. I thank God He was patient with me. Perhaps He may be patient with many we are praying for as well.

God accomplishes everything He sets out to do. That is His Will. Do men resist His will of command? Yes. Do men resist His secret purposes? No. Did God command men to murder His Son? No, He did not. Was it His secret will that the Cross should happen? Yes, it was. So the Adrianne Rogers of the SBC need to be a little more careful before they go emotionalizing texts. God is the Creator of everything, including every event in history. That is His Will.

Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

We Got Cousins!

Well, those of you who know about my brother's great loss of the Triplets last year will be blessed to know that he now has twins. Joshua and Lilian were born this afternoon. Joshua was 6 pounds 4 oz, and Lillian weighed 6 pounds 1 oz.. Both are 20 inches tall.

So the Fishers in Massachusetts and the Fishers in Kansas are celebrating the Lord's goodness and mercy. We have been praying a long time for these two. It will truly be great to see the Lord deliver them all the way home.

Soli Deo Gloria

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Pastor Phil Newton Speaks On The Church

Phil Newton, author of Elders in Congregational Life: Rediscovering the Biblical Model for Church Leadership and a board member of The Founders Conference, spoke at First Baptist in St. Francis, KS. He was speaking for 5 sessions. My wife and I were blessed to hear two sermons today. It was a long drive but worth the trip.

Pastor Newton is a very personable man. I managed to have a time of conversation with him. He encouraged me greatly. There is coming a time in the life of my own church where some major changes will be taking place. To hear him preach on the church and Body of Christ was a blessing truly needed to be heard by us.

We should be getting the tapes of these sermons soon. I will put them up on the web site as soon as I get them. Major Kuddos to Pastor Glidewell for having this Reformation Weekend Conference.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Falwell Defines Me Out

For quite some time, I have noticed some of the bigger names who are associated with the Southern Baptist Convention preaching against Calvinism. Names like Adrienne Rogers, Johnny Hunt and now Jerry Falwell seem to be aiming their sites at those who would hold to the London Baptist Confession of 1689. I assume they especially despise the Founders Conference within their own denomination.

According to this 2 minute clip, Jerry Falwell is now defining what a true Baptist is. Now that is fine. He is a well known minister and has every right to speak his mind. But why should he be allowed to redefine historical terms without challenge. Simply because he is well known doesn't grant him immunity from remaining accurate to Biblical truth and theology.

He starts by defining a Baptist as someone who believes in the Infallibility of the Bible and then the Deity of Christ. Things all Baptists have agreed upon were stated. But then he said that to be a Baptist one must believe that Jesus died a Substitutionary death for every individual ever. This is nice. It is emotionally exciting. It is something we wish God would really do. Who wants to see anyone go to hell?

We must however define what Substitutionary Atonement means. I agree that Jesus' death is not restricted to some tiny "select" group of people. The Bible does tells us that Jesus dies for the Elect. Why? Before the foundation of the world, God has joined a people to Christ. They are in Union with Him. This is not some theoretical idea. It is a reality.

Can you imagine that a person in hell can truly say with the Apostle Paul, "I have died with Christ."? To make Jesus' work theoretical on the cross is to limit His work. When Jesus died, He actually took the sins of His people. To say otherwise is to believe in Universal Atonement or no one was saved at all.

Substitutionary Atonement has a historical meaning, and no one should be allowed to define opponents out of a debate by redefining terms. This is what the Cults do. I expect more from Falwell. But it seems a thoughtful debate on the subject (according to Falwell's own words these things are not debatable) is not forthcoming. Not if he has anything to do with it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Need A Heart Transplant

I hear it over and over again but in many different ways. Christianity is just one religion that helps people see what is good and helps them to achieve living that good life. Sometimes that seems to be the main theme in contemporary Christian books, even conservative ones. Quite often it is in liberal Christian and nonChristian works.

I was finishing the debate between Dr. White and Dr. Crossan of the Jesus seminar when the ultimate question was finally asked in the question and answer period by a regular guy in the audience (click here for 2 minute clip). He basically asked Dr. Crossan "why?". If this world is evil, there seems to be no coming judgment, no hell, no wrath against sin, no substitutionary atonement, no forgiveness of sin, no resurrection, then why not just "kill yourself"? In other words, why is his version of Christianity so needed?

The response was quite typical. It assumed what all of the religions of man believe. That men have a free-will. If we just point men in the right direction, they could become good. This was the message of Jesus. Jesus was simply trying to teach us that the Kingdom of God comes by doing good. So if we just do it, then....

The Bible actually says something quite different. Men are not simply creatures who have lost their way but could be good if someone just steered them in the right direction. Men are not free-will agents that somehow are able to sit in judgment of God and His Gospel and choose it if it pleases them.

Men are dead in sin. Men are slaves of their sin. Men need not resuscitation. We do not need to wake up from an afternoon nap. We need resurrection! We need the Spirit of God to give us spiritual life. We need to repent and believe in the Gospel.

But my position assumes something that Dr. White clearly states in less than one minute. I believe that it is the Gospel that is the power of God. I do not believe that power is shared by man in any way shape or form. Men need a heart transplant. This can only be done by God and the Gospel he has commanded Christians to proclaim.

It is the Gospel that saves. It is the Spirit that saves. It is the Son that saves. It is the Father that saves. It is the Trinity that saves.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Woodbine Willie

At times the Bible does seem to indicate that when in Rome, do as the Romans. But does Paul really mean that there are no limits? If my neighbor gets drunk, should I do it too? If my neighbor commits adultery, do I need to do that in order to better understand him? Should I allow my daughter to wear miniskirts so the boys will be attracted to her, and she'll get a better chance to share the Gospel? Should we speak and think like the world?

These questions seem for some people to be quite a challenge. I think the answer is quite simple. Be yourself. People loathe a person who tries to be something he is not. People can spot a fake a mile away. But it is even more than that.

Christians are to live a consistent godly life. There may be some Christians who enjoy a beer once in a blue moon. This does not mean however he should overly enjoy himself by "getting tanked" (as they used to say) just because it might give an opportunity for sharing the Gospel. In fact, I suggest it does the opposite.

The World is always testing Christians to see if we are different. They want to know if we will truly follow Christ. They want to know if we really believe in Him, or if it is just hype or mere zealous excitement. They want to see Christians go to their graves knowing they have followed Christ. Otherwise, they will always secretly hold against you that your religion is just one among many.

Dr. Lloyd-Jones speaks about a fad that occurred back in the First World War. Yes this fad is nothing new. Christian men in the past as well as the present have often thought they needed to be just like sinful men in order to get them to listen. Listen to a story about Woodbine Willie. A cigarette smoking, cursing preacher who believed that we have to be just like the World to get men to follow. But if we become so much like them, my question is, "Who is following who?"

Click here for a 3 minute audio of Jones' story. The recording isn't great. But it says a lot.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

What About God's View Major Owens?

Congressman Major Owens from New York made some comments from the floor of the House of Representatives that goes to show how even supposedly intelligent people don't think through what they are saying. He states:

"We've had massive removal of people and now, with the policies of this administration, suspending Davis-Bacon, suspending affirmative action, making clear that people are not welcome back, you will have permanent removal of a whole population. You'll have permanent removal of a whole population, unprecedented in the history of the nation."

Then he likens this massive removal to the Israelites by the Romans:

"You can imagine how the ancient Israelites felt when the Romans decided to do one of the most brutal and cruel things ever done, and that is, they took the whole nation. They took the whole nation and moved them out, spread them out over the world into the 12 tribes. They broke them up into 12 tribes and moved off their homeland, massive removal. Well, you have something similar to that taking place in New Orleans."

Now to be honest, I am not sure what he is talking about. Is he referring to the Diaspora that took place long before the Romans? He is talking about the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70? What twelve tribes were moved out? It is funny that he simply looks at this from a human point of view. It is true that the Assyrians displaced the Northern 10 Tribes of Israel. From a human point of view, the Assyrians were evil. But notice what God says in Isaiah chapter 10:6-7:

"Ah, Assyria, the rod of my anger; the staff in their hands is my fury! Against a godless nation I send him, and against the people of my wrath I command him, to take spoil and seize plunder, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. But he does not so intend, and his heart does not so think; but it is in his heart to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few;"

So from God's point of view, He is the One who is behind this "massive removal". He is the One punishing the Israelites. So Owens better be careful and think through what he is saying. God removed the Israelites because of their wickedness. Is he comparing black Louisiana to wickedness? Just a thought.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Biblical Illiteracy

Albert Mohler's BLOG today speaks to a severe problem within the church today. Biblical illiteracy was rampant over a decade ago, but the problem seems far worse now. When I first started teaching Sunday school, I used a survey to test the literacy of the class. The statistics I had were worse than the nations average, and I would consider Scott City to be slightly more knowledgeable than the average bear. In fact, it was so bad. I wondered if I was in a Christian church.

Today, many people think Sodom and Gomorrah were a married couple, including Christians. Since these statistics came out years ago, you might think church leaders would have addressed this problem. Mohler states:

Christians who lack biblical knowledge are the products of churches that marginalize biblical knowledge. Bible teaching now often accounts for only a diminishing fraction of the local congregation's time and attention. The move to small group ministry has certainly increased opportunities for fellowship, but many of these groups never get beyond superficial Bible study.

I am afraid Mohler is right on here. How many Bible studies are actually about studying the Bible? Yes, we have bible studies on how to manage our money, our families, how to raise boys, how to have Biblical sex ect.. Although these are issues that certainly need to be studied, there are almost no Bible studies that actually teach how to interpret the Bible consistently and exegetically.

How many people have actually read John 6 and dealt with the weighty theological issues of the nature of man and sin and God's Sovereignty? How many people have actually read through the Sermon on the Mount? How many preachers have preached through the Sermon on the Mount verse by verse? I am beginning to wonder if the above average layman could even define or defend the teachings of the "Five Solas"?

The problem of Biblical knowledge becomes even worse when God's Law is discussed. I have personally read the Old Testament several times, and I must confess that I remain ignorant of it. The main reason is, we never discuss it or take the time to study it. If there is going to be a true revival, I sure hope the Spirit starts by getting His people back to studying His Word, since He wrote it `n all.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Carson & Lewis On Worship

I'd love to discuss Tom Ascol's Blog series on worship, but some things are better left to those who have greater insight than I do. So here is the link to his last Blog on the subject. I think you may find it challenging.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Robertson Is A Sign Of The End?

Pat Robertson is a top story on WND.

This weekend's catastrophic earthquake in South Asia in the wake of recent U.S. hurricanes and December's tsunami is catching the eye of televangelist Pat Robertson, who says we "might be" in the End Times described in the Bible.

"These things are starting to hit with amazing regularity," Robertson said on CNN's "Late Edition."
I wish these people would quit reading the Left Behind series as if they were Scripture. I have dealt with this before so I will link to an earlier BLOG. When will these people ever learn? I guess if you keep putting out sensational stuff, the money will keep rolling in.

Perhaps I have it all wrong. Maybe when we see lots of Christian leaders falling for all kinds of nonsense, The End really is near?

Friday, October 07, 2005

Growing Up In Rachel's World

Tonight while watching a good family movie with our 6-year old, Rachel's body decided it was time to lose a tooth. Yes, it was a milestone for Rachel. As you can see in the picture, she doesn't know whether to smile or freak out or cry. She sure was excited. Just thought you might like to share in our small world.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Dave Hunt and The Gospel

According to The Berean Call:

Could someone who believes this false gospel of Calvinism be truly saved? Fortunately, many Calvinists (you among them) were saved before becoming Calvinists. They now malign God by saying that He is pleased to damn multitudes though He could save all and that He predestines multitudes to the Lake of Fire before they are even born. But having believed the gospel before becoming Calvinists, they "shall not come into condemnation, but [have] passed from death unto life" (Jn 5:24). Those who only know the false gospel of Calvinism are not saved, while those who are saved and ought to know better but teach these heresies will be judged for doing so.

So Calvinists like myself are lost or at least will be judged severely for teaching it. For those of you following the anti-Calvinism crusade of Hunt you might be wondering why he disdains it to the point of being irrational.

After listening to a debate between Dave Hunt and John Pipa, Dave clearly understands the logical necessity that if a person holds to one point of Calvinism, then he must hold to all 5 points. His complete misunderstanding of Calvinism (and of how God works in salvation in general) leads him to believe that God loves this few "select" people while trashing the rest of humanity that so desperately wants to be saved.

Although that is not Calvinism, he totally stumbles over the point (often known by the letter "L" in T.U.L.I.P.) of Limited Atonement. Since most people reject the idea off hand that the Atonement of Christ could be "Limited" in any way, it is the assumption that must be challenged. Limited Atonement simply means this. That Jesus died as a perfect substitute for those who are saved.

In order to get people to think consistently, I have to ask the question, “What does it mean for Jesus to be a substitute?” I have had so many of my fellow churchmen who say that Jesus died for every single person ever. Yet, when I ask “Did Jesus die for that man in hell?”, I often get the answer that “He did, but that person just did not accept the gift.”

So does Jesus die for millions of people, who sin, reject Christ, suppress truth, ignore God, rebel against the Laws of God and become rightly judged for their actions and intentions? Does Jesus take the sins of a man that is in hell, yet somehow that man’s unbelief could not be forgiven?

If we are going to be consistent, we must think through who God truly is, what man truly is, and think through the Work, Person and Nature of Christ. Perhaps when we do this, the church will stop manipulating people to say the “sinner’s prayer” and get back to the work of true evangelism.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Might Makes Right?

If I remember correctly, a Bill, from South Carolina, called Rush's show today and said that the Constitution cannot be interpreted with original intent anymore than the Bible. We have advanced too far in technology and our modern understanding of the world and nature to resort to some 18th century politicians or 2000-year-old book.

I would love to ask this person to give us a reason to really believe that man has evolved in such a fashion so as to avoid eternal truths. Did the Nazis really avoid human sinfulness when experimenting on pregnant women? Was that purely science? When men use advanced technology (such as a car) to rob a bank, are they really beyond the eternal "Thou shalt nots"?

It is ironic that the Framers of the Constitution never thought of the "Rule of Law" as evolving. They did, however, see that times change and how that eternal rule would be applied in specific cases. Hence, a Constitution brilliantly made in order to account for changes. The Framers even used the Bible as their guide in their making of the Constitution, so they did not see the problem of using documents that were thousands of years old.

But there is an underlying worldview that needs to be dealt with. We must ask the "Bills" of this life, "What determines law?" If nine men in black robes determine what the meaning of the Constitution is, what if they decide a case in the favor of a conservative? Will Liberals and Leftists magically bow to the High Court’s decision?

Liberals in this country need to start thinking through their inconsistent worldview and see that their position leads to “Might makes Right”. When they see that they have lost in court, they immediately appeal to a higher authority and thereby borrow from the Christian Biblical worldview. Therefore “Bill from Carolina” needs to hear and learn why evolution is not true, his worldview is inconsistent and false, and that he needs to embrace the very thing he is opposed to, BIBLICAL TRUTH.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Double Predestination?

Since so many have struggled with the idea that God is all knowing and sovereign and that everything that happens occurs due to a positive decree, I have decided to link to a conversation between myself and Dr. White that took place on his internet broadcast, The Dividing Line.

The idea of God ordaining all things and predestining a people in Christ is so offensive from the Dave Hunts to students in my high school class and everyone in between, I thought it would be beneficial to learn what Scripture says on this subject. God has elected a people in Christ. He is free to do so. But the question always arises, "What about....?"

Perhaps this little conversation may give some insight as to what the Bible teaches.

God Bless

Friday, September 30, 2005

EWTN and Sola Fide: Who is the Blessed Man?

If I make an argument for a position and someone offers a critique, then I either show the critique is unfounded, or update my argument as to deal with the critique. I certainly don’t act like the opposition doesn’t exist. But that is exactly what you get with Roman Catholic Apologists.

I was simply amazed to watch EWTN and hear the same arguments that in a scholarly debate would never be used. If one text says you are righteous by faith alone, should we ignore it because another text speaks of works? Yet, the RC Apologist acted if Romans 4 didn’t exist. So I ask as so many down through the centuries have asked, “Who is the Blessed man?”

Let us suppose that the RC Apologist is right. That Romans 2 demands that we believe and have good works in order to be justified, what then? Funny how the text only spoke of people receiving eternal life or eternal wrath. Has any RC or Protestant or anyone else for that matter fulfilled Romans 2 from a works righteousness perspective? How many works does one have to do?

RCs often speak of purgatory. Where in the text does it mention that in Romans 2 or any other? If we approach the text from a perspective that says, the Bible agrees with my religion before we approach the text, now let’s see if it does, is to nullify God’s Word for the sake of Tradition.

RCs also speak of venial sins verses mortal sins. Yet we have no real definition of what that means. It is often portrayed that murder is a mortal sin and lesser sins are not. Yet Jesus mentions in Matthew 25 that simply not visiting someone in prison is enough to send someone to hell.

Truth is, the RC objections that were raised on EWTN have been answered numerous times since the reformation. Ignoring the Biblical answers in order to maintain a religious system of merits is the height of opposition against the Gospel. The Gospel is what saves sinners and Rome preaches a different Gospel.

So I ask again, “Who is the Blessed man?” of Romans 4? He is the man to whom the Lord does not impute sin. The Lord does not owe anyone anything. Salvation belongs to God and God alone. If He chooses to freely save a man, blessed is that man.

Soli Deo Gloria

The Purposeless Driven Life

In Dave Hunt's recent The Berean Call, he states:

Could someone who believes this false gospel of Calvinism be truly saved? Fortunately, many Calvinists (you among them) were saved before becoming Calvinists. They now malign God by saying that He is pleased to damn multitudes though He could save all—and that He predestines multitudes to the Lake of Fire before they are even born. But having believed the gospel before becoming Calvinists, they “shall not come into condemnation, but [have] passed from death unto life” (Jn 5:24). Those who only know the false gospel of Calvinism are not saved, while those who are saved and ought to know better but teach these heresies will be judged for doing so.

Now in Dave's anti-Calvinistic crusade (something he has yet to understand), he seems to not look in the mirror. He is all upset that God has "predestined" multitudes to hell according to the Calvinistic system. Now what "predestine" means in the Calvinistic system is totally ignored by Hunt, but let's ask a few questions of Hunt, assuming he is right.

Mr. Hunt, if God has foreknowledge of all future events and people and things, ect., why did God make man knowing that they would choose to go to hell? How does this help your position? Do you believe that God has just passively created man and sends him to hell with no real purpose?

Now Mr. Hunt would probably respond by saying that it was God's original intention for man to not sin. But this does not solve the problem because he believes God knows all things. Therefore God knew His will would be frustrated. Maybe Mr. Hunt should jump on the Open-Theism bandwagon and depart orthodox Christianity. That may solve his problem. Who needs a God that creates with a purpose?

Perhaps Mr. Hunt should have written the Purposeless Driven Life.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

EWTN And Sola Fide Part 2: Descriptive or Prescriptive?

Before I offer a critique of the RC apologist's argument, I first think it would be proper to present a positive view. It must be said at the outset that modern evanjellyism has come to ignore the role of works in salvation. There are almost no sermons that deal with the difficult passages that were raised by EWTN.

I fear that Dispensational theology has been in part to blame. The only sermons on the judgment of Christians seem to place Christians in some other galaxy where their works pass through a fire in order to determine what rewards they will get, and that's it. I believe most evanjellycals intuitively know that works must accompany salvation, but they simply do not even seem realize the weight of the problem.

The New Testament speaks of works being the basis of judgment as to determine whether one goes to heaven or hell so often, that I am amazed we miss it. Let me offer a couple of teachings by Christ. In Matthew 25, Jesus uses a parable that speaks of separating the sheep from the goats. The basis of their separation is works. Notice what He says, "And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'" Jesus refers to their actions as being the basis of their judgment.

Another text that is often overlooked is John chapter 5:25-29:

"Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment."

Jesus actually says those who have done good will rise to life. Therefore works will be the basis on which a man rises to life or death. Does this mean what Rome or Utah or the miriads of other works oriented religions teach? I say no.

Notice even in John 5 Jesus speaks of His voice as raising the dead. He speaks of men having eternal life now in the present. This eternal life is the underlying cause of men "doing good". Jesus is speaking of kinds of men. These passages are able to be interpreted as being "descriptive" and not "prescriptive". Let me offer an example where Jesus teaches this belief.

In Matthew chapter 7 we are told that good trees bear good fruit. Please notice that the fruit only gives information as to the nature of the tree. The tree itself is good, therefore it produces good fruit. Bad trees do the opposite. Therefore on the day of judgment, the fruit will proclaim to all what the tree truly is...good or bad.

Therefore the works a Christian does does not save him, but declares to all that he is saved and will be judged as one of the righteous. So when the RC apologist reads a text like Romans 2 he must be asked, "Is Paul speaking 'prescriptively' or 'descriptively'?" If we do not allow an overriding authority to tell us the meaning of the Bible, but instead allow the Scripture tell us its meaning, we will find that works oriented passages and faith alone passages can be harmonized as Reformed Protestant teaching has demonstrated for centuries.

In conclusion, only those who are in Christ, know Christ, known by Christ, walk in the light as He is in the light, possess eternal life, coming ones, drinking ones, believing ones, sanctified ones, holy ones, those who walk by faith, justified, and obedient to the gospel and ect. will rise to life.

The opposite is also true in 1 Corinthians, "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

With the proper interpretation of Scripture, we find that salvation, including our works, is all of God's Grace. For apart from Christ, we can do nothing and would still be by nature, children of wrath.

Soli Deo Gloria

Monday, September 26, 2005

EWTN And Sola Fide Part 1

Last night I was watching yet more misrepresentations of Protestant theology on EWTN. There was an apologist showing that there is nothing in the Bible that contradicts Roman Catholic theology and vice versa. Therefore Roman Catholic beliefs are taught explicitly or implicitly in the Bible.

The problem quite often is that Protestants do open themselves up to criticism from RC apologists. When a Roman Catholic hears "Once Saved Always Saved", he immediately wonders where is the role of works in salvation. So the RC apologist (on EWTN) points to Romans chapter 2 which says:

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.
So how does the Protestant normally answer this. Well, he most certainly does not exegete this particular text, but instead runs off to other texts which plainly teach Sola Fide. This may be fine for the Protestant, but when a Protestant is dealing with someone who has an external authority overriding the text, he really must deal with the assumptions of the opposing apologist. But the RC apologist can simply fire back against the Protestant's Traditions and hence we have a theological tie.

I firmly believe that many Protestants need to reevaluate their beliefs in light of the Scriptures and challenge their Traditions. How many Protestants have we "lost" to RC apologists or Mormon apologists or Jehovah's Witnesses or ect..., simply because we were not being consistent in our view of Scripture.

If we want to be able to answer the RC apologist or the Mormon apologist who will discuss these texts and the role of works in salvation, then we need to be consistent in our approach to Scripture and not run from what God's Word has to say, even if we have to challenge our beliefs.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!!!

"Surprise, surprise, surprise" Private Pyle used to say. Well, we had a surprise visit from pastor J.W. Glidewell and his beautiful wife this evening. They had been attending an area meeting in Dighton KS 25 miles east of Scott City and decided to drop in on their way home.

It is amazing how fast a living room full of toys can be picked up. Pastor Glidewell called from the gas station which gave approximately 30 seconds. I don't know who that feminine Superhero was, but she was quick. ;-)

Pastor Glidewell is mentoring me through my course on Preachers and Preaching. He has been a pastor of a Southern Baptist church for quite some time in St. Francis just within a couple of hours north of Scott City. So for him to stop by during his busy schedule was quite a blessing.

We had a great time discussing things from the course to the Doctrines of Grace to John Piper's preaching. Pastor Glidewell invited us to attend a Reformation Weekend conference that will be taking place at his church. Dr. Phil Newton will be speaking for five sessions at the conference. Dr. Newton is one of the members of Board of Directors of the Founders Ministries (the organization I am taking the Preachers class with).

So those of you pastors who read this in Scott City take the hint that this is a promotion of that conference. If I go, perhaps you should too. The date of the conference is October 28-30.

Thanks for the visit Pastor Glidewell. My wife and I were blessed and encouraged.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Blessed Is the Nation Whose God Is the Lord

The ACLU has been very successful at removing the Ten Commandments from public buildings. The argument they use is that the First Amendment says that states may not promote one religion over another. Since many conservatives accept that the First Amendment applies to the states, they are hard pressed to win in court.

An interesting story has appeared on WND. An "Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians" have voted to post the Ten Commandments where their governments meet. Although this is quite refeshing to see a government acknowledge God, some of their reasoning is a bit flawed.

They state:

"There is no First Amendment issue involved, and even if the American Civil Liberties Union wanted to make one, it can't. The U.S. Constitution does not apply to Cherokee, nor to any other Native American tribe for that matter..."

Well, I'd like to inform the Cherokee Indians as well as most conservatives in this country, there is no correct way to apply the First Amendment to states either. Therefore the ACLU can make up any argument they want.

The First Amendment was written to restrict the Federal government, not the states. The state of Massachusetts had a state church well into the 1830s. Therfore if the state of Utah decided to make the Church of Jesus Christ, Latter Day Saints, the state church, Constitutionally, they may do so.

Although I commend these Cherokees to do what they are doing, they need to be consistent. The Councilwoman Angela Kephart said:

"We aren't saying you have to abide by the Ten Commandments," Kephart said, according to the Smoky Mountain News. "We are simply displaying God's Ten Commandments. That's what He expects from each and every individual. If you break that, it is between you and God. It is not between you and the tribal council; it is between you and God."

Although the above sounds nice. It is self contradictory and not the intention of the Ten Commandments. The ten commandments are to be the basis of Law. Therefore, to say that they are not saying people have to abide by the Ten Commandments, and then say that the Ten Commandments are between individuals and God, is to say that I can committ murder and it is just between me and God. How absurd is that thinking?

The Ten Commandments are meant for society and the basis for the laws of governments everywhere. Without acknowledging the Creator and His Laws, we only invite chaos. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, including the Nation of Cherokee Indians.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Solid Ground Books

Solid Ground Books (online book store) is now selling books from the Reformed Baptist Academic Press. There is some great reading from Solid Ground Books. For those of you needing some "meat" in your studies, you will not be disappointed.

With some of the major shortfalls of Dispensationalism, Covenant Theology seems to be making a comeback. The recent Reformed Baptist Theological Reviews have dealt heavily with the New Covenant verses the Old and also dealing with believers baptism verses paedo-baptism.

Check them out.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

You're Offended, I'm Offended

A few weeks ago I preached a sermon on the sufficiency of Scripture. During the sermon, I explained that certain religious groups deny this. I said nothing that could be construed to be a lie. Yet I offended some people.

Why is stating certain facts offensive, I am not sure. It is true that Mormonism denies that the Bible is sufficient. They will even have the Book of Mormon in their hands to show that they have more than the Bible. The Jehovah's Witnesses have more literature thrown at them from week to week than anyone I know. This is all true. But God forbid I mention Roman Catholicism.

Why is it offensive to mention that many Roman Catholics deny the sufficiency of Scripture and believe that Traditions are equal to Scripture? Isn't that what many believe? Yet several people are offended that I mention these facts.

Nobody seems to mind that I might be offended. I might be offended that most Protestants have no idea what the issues of the gospel are. I might be offended that the groups above deny the Gospel according to the Scripture. I might be offended that Protestants are denying the imputation of Christ's righteousness. I might be offended that many Protestants are compromising the Gospel to make peace with a church (Rome) that can not by Biblical definition ever come to repentance without denying its own authority. It seems to me, nobody cares that I might be offended.

Truth is, I am offended when I see a false Gospel preached. I am offended when Scripture is blasphemed. I am offended when a brother mocks the Name of Christ while wanting to be granted assurance of his salvation. I am offended when the power of the Gospel is denied while Protestant evangelists manipulate people to say the sinners prayer and say, "You're saved, now never question salvation again."

So why are so many Protestants wanting to defend Roman Catholicism as if it were just another Protestant denomination? Truth is most Protestants don't know the issues. It is time for the Shepherds of God's flock to call the sheep out of this world while they remain in it.

I won't sweat it though. In the end, I have been following John Quincy Adam's advise. "Duty is mine, results are God's."

Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

One Nation Under...Who?

I just love this Michael Newdow guy. An atheist who is trying for a second time to have "one Nation under God" removed from the pledge of allegiance. The reason why I love this guy is because he has revealed something about the rest of the nation. Most people have no idea why the Pledge is the way it is (read Steve Camp's blog for some great info), but even more importantly, most Christians have no idea how defend the phrase being in the pledge.

In God's Sovereignty and will, Christians have encountered false teachers from both within the church and outside the church. I believe one of the reasons why God has called us to struggle in the faith is that we may grow. For example, an early controversy within the church was whether or not Jesus is God. It was precisely because of false teachers that Christians were forced to think about the issues of life and be found whether or not they would take a stand for truth.

So as Mr. Newdow once again takes his case and attempts to head for the Supreme Court, America in general and Christians in particular will have to think through the issues. For most Americans, this is a no brainer. Michael is right. But for those of us who take God's Word seriously, for those of us who understand how the Law is to function in God's world, for those of us who recognize God is the Creator and we are His creatures, for those of us who desire to be consistent, we will need to be prepared as to why the Bible should be the Foundation for Law.

So who is the Foundation going to be? God or man?

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Calvin And Who?

I got to meet the new Mormon missionaries yesterday. Nice couple of guys that work hard at trying to get a good home cooked meal. Hopefully they will be eating some of my wife's good cooking before they go in a couple of weeks.

I know, you're thinking, "Why?" Well, I try to witness to anyone and everyone, that includes Mormon missionaries too. I recognize the fact that they are steeped in Mormon theology, and it would take years to make any real progress. But in the short time that the Good Lord gives to me, I will do what John Quincy Adams said, "Duty is mine, results belong to God."

I have been noticing something more troubling over the last couple of years. Since I am not a scholar I don't know if my observations are correct, but it seems to me that Evanjellycals are on the road back to Rome. I don't mean that we are all becoming Roman Catholics. But we seem to be going back to the view of man that Rome believes.

Notice who is in this picture.

Joseph Smith is on the left, T.D. Jakes in the middle and John Calvin on the right. Now what do the first two have to do with John Calvin? You guessed it. Nothing! Yet they are together in a picture coming out in the next CRI Journal. The first two are false teachers. Calvin is one of the greatest theologians of the Reformation.

So when these three are put together it sure makes one wonder what in the world CRI is doing. Joseph Smith's view of man is that he just needs some direction. TD Jakes is a Oneness Pentecostal. His view of man isn't much different from Mormons.

The Reformation hinged on the belief that men are dead in sins and trespasses. Calvin most certainly believed this. Calvin did not believe that men just needed a little help from above. Calvin believed that if God did not choose to save us and raise us from spiritual death to spiritual life, we would never desire the true God.

Notice what Smith taught. That God was once a man who was exalted to Godhood. In other words, God is just one of a myriad of gods. Poly-Theism. This leads to the idea that men just need to be pointed in the right direction. The atoning work of Christ doesn't actually save anyone unless that man chooses to obey God's commands perfectly.

Jakes believes that God is one person who disguises himself as Father in creation, Son in redemption and Spirit in regeneration (Modalism). So that when Jesus is praying to the Father, He is actually praying to Himself. And again, the atoning work of Christ does what? Make salvation possible?

John Calvin believed in the Trinity and in the Biblical doctrine of election. He believed that Jesus actually died to save sinners. That Jesus' death, burial and Resurrection actually accomplished this. The reason being, man is dead. Man does not need a guy to show the way. Man needs salvation from his evil deeds and desires.

It is commendable that CRI has taken a firm stand against Open-Theism, Mormonism and Oneness Pentecostalism, but their reasoning is inconsistent and is leading them to take a harder position against reformed theology. Over the years, I have let my subscription drop. Although I am not sure what the particular article is about, I just can't understand why CRI is wanting to undermine the foundation laid so long ago.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Irony of Ironies

It is extremely amusing to hear liberals and leftists, such as Scott City's local New York Times Editorial page all the way up to Senator Kennedy, say that conservative judges are activists. If anyone listened to Judge Robert's opening statements, and if he truly meant what he said, there is simply no way he could be a judicial activist.

While Senator Kennedy and Biden do their best to make Roberts look bad, they only show more of their true colors. But then the irony of ironies happened this afternoon during the hearings. The U.S. 9th Circus Court of Appeals said it is unConstitutional to have children say "one Nation under God" during the pledge of allegiance.

I am curious as to what Biden and Kennedy will do now? Will they ask Roberts if he is going to "roll the clock back on freedom" and rights that are gained through the court system? What I really want is my local New York Times Editor to comment on this. I am sure if he has any brains at all, he'll do what he always does. He'll blame it on Bush.